Palm Sunday at the Church of the Big Empty

Akbash dogs are stubborn AND they know what they think is right, and Bear did not think it was right for me to take her out for a walk without Teddy, so she wouldn’t let me catch her. It got incredibly frustrating. I went to the garage and opened the back door of Bella and tried to fool Bear into letting me leash her. She wasn’t having it. Finally I opened the kitchen door. Teddy, who was in the house, ran out, raced down the walk into the garage, and jumped up into his seat in the car. Bear didn’t know he was in the car, ready to go, and STILL refused to be leashed. 

“I’m ready Martha!”

“I know, Teddy, but I have to catch Bear. Besides, I didn’t want to take you.”

“Really?” There’s NO way he would believe that.

“Never mind little guy.”

Finally I got Teddy and went into the house. Before long, Bear was inside. I grabbed her collar, leashed her, and took them both for a very very very very windy Palm Sunday Service at the Church of the Big Empty. It was a wonderful “service” even with the wind gusting at 40 mph. I watched an osprey and a Harris hawk hunt, saw some cinnamon teal take advantage of a lull in the wind to fly from the ditch to the pond and there were NO other people. 

And then… 

“Isn’t this all-right, Martha?” “It” said. “It” is my notion of God.
“This. Isn’t it enough. Do you really need to travel far and wide? You’ll just come home to this. Think about it. It took your whole life for you to get here.” There was no arguing that.

I turned and looked at Mt. Blanca through the pastel haze of the dusty air. 

“I brought you here,” It said again. “Isn’t this enough?”

My eyes filled with tears. It’s so much more than “enough.” I said “Thank you” and continued my uphill push on the flat road with the two parishioners who also find it to be “enough.” 

As I walked I pondered the journey that I thought I wanted to take and the financial and physical challenges it would present. Greece. Then I thought, “You have everything they left behind for you. You have even had the privilege to teach it.” And I thought about that and said “Thank you,” again. 

So, that’s it. ❤

P.S. The photo is my very strange garage. The “leak” you see was repaired a long time ago, but I saw no point in taking the particle board down and discovering what else I should probably do. Also, Bear loves Teddy. When we come in from a walk, she stands back and lets him drink first. Sometimes she will go alone on a walk with me, but usually, she wants Teddy to come along. It’s very difficult to win an argument with an Akbash dog without a lasso — and the ability to use it. I have neither.

15 thoughts on “Palm Sunday at the Church of the Big Empty

  1. I very much like your idea of ‘God.’ I fall farther along the non-believer tract than most of the people I know, but even I will admit, when you get hit in the face with all that nature is capable of providing–even on a blustery day–it gives one a pause for thought. I will think of you the next time I enter the Church of the Big Empty.

    • A couple of Mormon girls stopped by the other day while I was raking leaves. They asked about my church. I said I attended the church of nature. They couldn’t argue with that and offered to help me bag up the leaves. I grew up in the Christian metaphor, but I found it very confining by high school. How can you fence in, define and fight over (!), the infinite which none of us can completely understand and in which our participation is so minuscule and inexplicable? So the Church of the Big Empty ❤

      • If I ever convert to any faith, it will be yours! As long as I don’t have to wake up and go anywhere on a Sunday other than a nice park or some of the trails you travel with Bear. They look very inviting.

        • My “faith” doesn’t require conversion of any kind. It’s pure appreciation. I see it all the time in the way you appreciate Alexei’s achievements, in Gish, in your poetry. Really, my “faith” is just a matter of from time to time being in the moment wherever it is, whatever it is. You don’t have to stand on your head, pony up 10%, abase yourself, swear fealty, nothing. ❤

  2. This just gave me a huge smile and sort of settled something I’ve been thinking about all afternoon. Thanks. I think you’ve nailed it. (If you catch my drift.)

    • I caught your drift!

      I came home from “church” and discovered a “vacation” I can take that’s two hours away, completely affordable, involves an 11 mile bike ride on a paved path surrounded by Colorado’s highest mountains, a mountain lake, a lot of old mines and an awesome AirBNB in Leadville.

  3. “Isn’t this enough?” YES it is enough. I could feel enough throughout the message. Love it. LF 

  4. Church….someone I ride with on Wednesday nights has his work calendar blocked at 3PM with the notation “church”. Everyone at work knows that his church is riding his bike on the back roads around here. That qualifies him for membership in the half-fast cycling club.

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